The PlayStation 4 was announced today by Sony at their PlayStation Meeting 2013, a conference held in New York City. The next-generation console will be released at the end of the year during the “holiday season”, however, Sony didn’t give an exact release date, which territories will receive the PS4 first, or any details about the price. I guess they had to save all that crucial information for this year’s E3.
Here is what was revealed during the conference:
1. Hardware details
- The PS4 processor uses an x86 CPU architecture, meaning that the console will not have any “native” backward compatibility with existing PS3 games because the PS3 uses a different processor type.
- 8GB of system memory using high-performance GDDR5 RAM.
- A dedicated GPU. No specifications were given, but it is a design that is highly modified from an existing PC GPU.
- A secondary processing chip that will allow you to download applications while you are in a game, or even when the PS4 is switched off.
- The DualShock 4 controller was revealed. It features a front touchpad (similar to the Vita’s rear touchpad) with a prominent “share” button for recording and sharing your gameplay videos. It also has a stereo camera to detect motion, a headphone jack to plug in your headset, and a light sensor to identify players.
Keep in mind that apart from the new DualShock 4 controller, the actual physical hardware of the PS4 was not shown yet. We still have no idea what the console looks like.
2. Cloud gaming and seamless content sharing
- The PS4 will make use of cloud streaming technology, allowing game demos to be played instantly without waiting for long downloads. The rest of the game will be downloaded in the background while you are playing.
- You can easily record and upload videos thanks to the PS4’s always-enabled video codec system. You can even stream your current game to other PS4 gamers, and request for assistance by granting control of the game to them.
- PS Vita owners will be able to remotely play their PS4 games. The PS4 is able to stream games directly to the Vita.
- Sony is partnering with livestream providers like Twitch.tv and Ustream to allow players to livestream their games easily.
- A new application called the PlayStation App will allow players to use their Android and iOS smartphones and tablets as “second screens” to complement their PS4 game experience. Users, for example, can use their second screen as a map for adventure games, to purchase PS4 games away from home and have it downloaded immediately to their console, or to remotely watch other PS4 gamers playing.
In this age of eSports and livestreaming, the ability to seamlessly share your game content with the PS4 and to access it anywhere on a mobile device, sounds like a huge step in the right direction for gaming.
3. List of games revealed for the PS4 (developer listed in parenthesis)
- Knack (Japan Studio)
- Killzone: Shadow Fall (Guerilla Studios)
- Driveclub (Evolution Studios)
- Infamous: Second Son (Sucker Punch)
- The Witness (Jonathan Blow)
- Deep Down (working title from Capcom)
- A new Final Fantasy title from Square Enix
- Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment)
- Watch Dogs (Ubisoft)
- Destiny (Bungie)
Actual in-game footage, and not cinematics, were shown for Killzone, Driveclub, Deep Down, and Watch Dogs. The graphics were incredibly detailed and very high-end, comparable to the quality of graphics for high-end PC games.
Overall, although the actual hardware was not shown, and no explanation was given on how backward compatibility for PS3 games will work, I am genuinely quite excited for the PS4. It shows that Sony has learned from the hardware mistakes of the PS3, and the focus on cloud gaming and streaming means that Sony has done their homework on soon-to-become-big gaming trends. We still have to wait for the full details and actual launch before we can make a complete judgement, but based on what was revealed I think Sony is clearly the favourite in the next-generation console wars.
Mircosoft and Nintendo, I hope you are paying attention.